a. Loss of the use of one or more muscles, or a part or parts of the body, esp. as a result of neurological injury or disease; an instance of this. Also: loss of any of various other types of physiological function, esp. that of a nerve (now rare). Cf. PALSY n.1 1. creeping, infantile, spastic paralysis: see the first element.
2. fig. and in figurative contexts. The state of being powerless; a condition of helplessness or inactivity; inability to act or function properly; an instance of this.
Paralysis seems like a good word to characterize the utter confusion one experiences when encountering a word salad, something that is simutaenously familiar and unfamiliar. The mind loses its "muscle", is "powerless" and unable to "act or function properly." Ngai expands on the idea of paralysis using "The Gold-Bug." "The mind struggles to establish a connectioin--a sequence of cause and effect--and being unable to do so, suffers a species of temporary paralysis."(254) In paralysis, the nerves do not communicate with muscles in the body, telling them how to act or react. When confronted with the unconventional, our brain freezes. It's not because our brain is defective or the message, but the medium.
1 year ago